Access to Justice

Ensuring access to justice for all is a priority for UNDP’s rule of law and human rights support, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to ‘leave no one behind. UNDP focuses on ensuring access to justice for marginalized groups, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, refugees, and displaced communities. We empower communities by increasing their understanding and awareness of their rights as well as work with legal aid providers to help people navigate the justice system and obtain redress, including on civil, criminal, and administrative matters. To overcome the many structural barriers people face in accessing justice, UNDP works directly with justice and security institutions to address issues of systemic discrimination and marginalization. We also promote innovative and people-centred approaches to increase access to justice, including mobile courts and community-based legal aid and awareness initiatives.

UNDP promotes access to justice in Ukraine through increasing the availability of legal aid. - © UNDP Ukraine

Weak governance and rule of law are among the key drivers of forced displacement and often remain challenges for host communities in responding to the protection needs of displaced populations. UNDP and UNHCR’s partnership integrates immediate humanitarian assistance with long-term rule of law and governance support to enable national and local partners to better fulfil their protection responsibilities and develop sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, stateless persons, and host communities. In addition to offering an avenue for resources to concurrently serve the objectives of both organizations, promoting a more efficient use of funds, this partnership also provides a platform for field experiences to inform the development of global policy and responses.

Through the partnership in 2018, UNDP and UNHCR implemented joint initiatives to enhance access to justice and promote effective governance in over 8 contexts, including Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uganda. The partnership also supported the planning of the regional response for refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Angola, Burundi, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

In addition, a joint workshop was convened to take stock of best practices and lessons learned over the first two years of the partnership. The workshop brought together representatives from UNDP and UNHCR working in 12 contexts across all regions and head quarter offices. The discussion revealed that the catalytic funding provided through the partnership has been instrumental in localizing solutions that meet peoples immediate and long-term needs. Participants also stressed the importance of the partnership’s flexibility, allowing for unique forms of collaboration to take shape – ranging from more formal joint projects to ad hoc assessments - depending on the context.

Looking forward, UNDP and UNHCR aim to leverage the recently adopted Global Compact for Refugees to more effectively respond to forced displacement and address its root causes. The partnership also plans to identify innovative country-level collaborations that could be replicated or adapted to other contexts. Lastly, UNDP and UNHCR are focused on securing more technical and financial resources that will enable the partnership to better respond to emerging crises and build a community of practice.